PLAYING DETROIT: This Benefit Show Aims to Scream Out The Silence Around Suicide

Jake Cramer of Morris Choice Entertainment is attempting to raise awareness around suicide prevention with his first ever benefit show Scream out the Silence. All proceeds from the show – featuring local acts Honeybabe, The Idiot Kids, ZZvava and DJ Raphy – will go to Six Feet Over, a Michigan-based non-profit that is devoted to preventing and assisting in the aftermath of suicide.

“Suicide is something that no one really talks about it. If someone dies, nobody talks about it. If someone is feeling suicidal, they don’t talk about it,” says Cramer. “The whole idea was like, if we’re trying to bring awareness to people, we need to put it in people’s face. I figured the best way to do that is by booking loud bands.” Although Cramer focused on “louder” bands for this show, it isn’t simply a roster of noise-rock artists. Honeybabe self describes its fuzzy surf-rock as “psychrockjazzpunk” and is a stark comparison to The Idiot Kids melding My Chemical Romance and Metallica. Meanwhile, ZZvava sits in between the two with ’60s inspired classic rock ‘n’ roll.

Cramer’s hope is that the event will not only raise money for Six Feet Over, but also encourage conversations about mental health and suicide to aid in prevention and healing. “I lost my cousin and best friend back in 2015 to suicide. I was just crushed. When it happened, I had this huge pain in me for a long time,” says Cramer. “Since my cousin’s passing, I’ve always wanted to do something for suicide awareness and prevent people from feeling the way I felt.”

Scream Out The Silence will be held on January 19th at The Old Miami on Cass Avenue. Out-of-towners can also make a donation directly to Six Feet Over.


INTERVIEW: Lizzy Lehman of Carry Illinois

Music is a powerful tool. It can be used to edify, to empower, and even to restore a human’s soul. Carry Illinois is an Austin band whose back catalogue runs the gamut from 2016’s peppy “Electric Charm” to 2014’s “Weakest Limb.” This year, the band released Garage Sale, a collection of six snappy indie rock tracks that never shy away from personal crisis. It’s a record built around emotion and healing, but the music doesn’t dwell – it incites the listener to remember and look forward.

We sat down with founder and frontwoman, singer-songwriter Lizzy Lehman, to talk about her writing process and the healing power of music.

AF: You’re originally from Illinois. What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

LL: I grew up listening to all kinds of music. I listened to a lot of Motown, Classic Rock, ’60s Folk, musicals, and tons of ’90s pop, hip hop, r&b, and alternative.

AF: When did you transition from listening to music to making your own?

LL: I started making my own music at the beginning of college (2004-2005). I started writing my own songs in 2005.

AF: Had you moved to Austin at that point?

LL: No. I was going to college at Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR.

AF: What landed you in Texas?

LL: I met Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) the Summer of 2006. He told me that as a new songwriter I should go to the Kerrville Folk Festival (in Kerrville, TX). I decided to pack a guitar, a backpack, and a tiny one-person tent and headed to the festival in May 2008. I ended up making some of my best friends and meeting my now wife. I moved to Austin, Texas in January of 2011 and have been here ever since.

AF: Tell us a bit about your songwriting process with Carry Illinois. Are lyrics the foundation? Or does the band play with riffs to start?

LL: I write all the lyrics and the original music. Sometimes I start with lyrics first, but I usually start by plunking out a chord progression. I bring the song to the band and let them hear it with just me singing and playing. After introducing the song, I let them jam along and then we refine it from there.

AF: On your website, it says you also do some “fictionalized writing.” How does that aspect of your creativity affect your songwriting?

LL: I don’t write any fictitious songs anymore. When I started writing songs I would make them up. All of my songs we currently play (and the ones we are about to record) are about my real life and the lives of my friends and loved ones.

AF: “Oh a day will come / when we won’t be put down / that shameful feeling / will be long gone.” In addition to being a really catchy song, “Shameful Feeling” is also a very personal song for you in particular. Was this a hard song to bring to the rest of the band?

LL: It was not a hard song to bring to the band. All of my songs lately are highly personal and the band has always respected me and my lyrics to the highest degree. I know all of them so well now that I am never hesitant about presenting something so raw and real.

AF: 2017’s Garage Sale was created in the wake of founding member/bassist John Winsor’s suicide. Have you found performing the album to be cathartic?  

LL: Absolutely. Writing and singing these six songs has made it a lot easier for me to cope with his death and process the emotions that came with his passing. I know he would be proud of me for continuing to write and sing. John was always a huge supporter and cheerleader. I miss him everyday.

AF: Carry Illinois is set to release a new record in early 2018. What has this new record’s writing process been like and what can we expect thematically?

LL: Writing the new record has felt like a breath of fresh air and a great way for me to look at how far I have come but also how far I have to go (personally and musically). As far as themes are concerned, the new songs are about my process of tapering off of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs after 14 years, coping with changes within the band lineup, and learning to harness self-love even when it seems almost impossible. Writing these songs has been therapeutic and exciting. I am looking forward to releasing the new material. The sound is a bit different but I think people are going to really connect to it.

AF: You said earlier that for you, bringing music to the band isn’t difficult because you’re so in tune with one another. What advice would you give a young songwriter wanting expand their sound? Someone who is looking for the right band?

LL: I would tell them to keep writing, keep singing, and don’t be scared of speaking their truth. Music is a process and you have to keep creating. As far as a band is concerned, the right people will come along. If somebody digs your sound and what you have to contribute to the world, then they are probably worth playing with. Play music with all sorts of people and don’t be discouraged if the fit isn’t right at first. Keep honing and keep going!

Carry Illinois’ 2017 album Garage Sale is out now. Keep an ear out for their new EP dropping in early 2018!

NEWS ROUNDUP: Yoko Ono’s “Imagine” Credit, LCD Soundsystem Shows & More

  • Yoko Ono To Receive Songwriting Credit For ‘Imagine”
    In a 1980 BBC interview, John Lennon admitted that his wife Yoko Ono deserved a co-credit for one of his most beloved solo songs, “Imagine,” since much of the ideas and lyrics came directly from her poems. He denied her important role in its creation due to his own “selfish” and “macho” attitude (to paraphrase his words), as well as a sexist double standard, adding, “If it had been Bowie, I would have put ‘Lennon-Bowie.'” Decades after the interview and nearly fifty years since the song’s release, Ono is finally getting the credit she deserves; the National Music Publishers Association awarded “Imagine” with its “Centennial Award” on Wednesday and announced that Ono would finally be listed as the song’s co-writer. Imagine that!


  • LCD Soundsystem Surprise BK Steel Shows Sell Out in Minutes
    On Monday, LCD Soundsystem announced a second run of Brooklyn Steel shows (to follow up the run that opened the venue last April). Tickets went on sale Thursday morning and were sold out almost instantly, but began popping up in secondary markets like StubHub shortly thereafter – well above face value. LCD frontman James Murphy was not happy; he took to Facebook to condemn scalpers, bots, and folks selling fakes, calling them “parasites” and promising fans they’d get to the bottom of the lightning-quick sell-out. LCD Soundsystem’s new album is apparently complete and although no release date has been set, they debuted a couple of new songs on SNL. The Brooklyn Steel run starts tonight.


  • DIY Venue Suburbia Shut Down By Cops
    Unfortunately (really, really unfortunately), Brooklyn DIY space Suburbia was shut down on Saturday night. If you didn’t see it happen, information about the event is scarce; the venue’s Facebook page mysteriously states they can’t comment because the page is being monitored, and asks that specific details not be shared to protect the privacy of those involved. Several upcoming shows (such as Camp Cope’s) have been moved to other venues. Stay tuned for updates.


  • Other Highlights
    A new Lee Ranaldo album is imminent, a posthumous album from Alan Vega of Suicide is coming, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham did a thing, listen to the new QOTSA track, & why is this thinkpiece picking on Carly Rae Jepsen?





Some might say that sex without love is like music without soul…but what is sex without music?

It seems natural enough that someone who obsesses about aural pleasure and its many applications on the daily, would also wonder which sounds best suit oral pleasu– you get the idea. But all puns aside: if I am to write about the personal, idiosyncratic links we have with specific music, how can I respectfully gloss over musica sexus? Which is fake Latin for “sex music.”

It is a worthy genre, and not only for those of us who live our lives thinking up Top 10 lists for every possible occasion. I’ve heard many say that they don’t like to have sex to music; perhaps they don’t think of it, find it distracting, or can’t take the DJing pressure in such a moment. Others like my good friend Fletcher* say it “feels cheesy” and that it was something he “did more in high school.”

And I hear that. High school was when you were still figuring out how to navigate the difficult, terrifying and oft-taboo world of sex. You had little to no prior experience, and most likely based your moves off of those you saw in movies. So you stood outside your love’s window, goliath boom box foisted above your head blaring “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. It worked so well for John Cusack in Say Anything! Or perhaps you put on “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers after watching Ghost. Maybe you even got out some clay and a pottery wheel. You didn’t know any better!

At the unromantic end of the spectrum, sex music was just practical back then. You needed something to mask the coital cacophony you and Kateigh were making from your unsuspecting mother down the hall. Sadly few New Yorkers have escaped this sound barrier reality, as playing music while boning is a frequent necessity when living with roommates. It doesn’t actually work though.

But I refuse to accept that shagging to a soundtrack is only for teens and broke city-dwellers. Despite how “cheesy” and juvenile some might find it, I’m always down for some rock n’ roll in the hay…provided it’s awesome.

The foreplaylists (sorry!) that have intrigued me the most came when I least expected them to. A personal favorite was when a nerdy, socially inept and tame lover put on “Girl” by Suicide right before he pounced on me. The sounds of “ding!” abounded in my head as his points accrued for a) liking Suicide and b) knowing this particular song would light my fire. It’s not the kind of ditty you would think to diddle to immediately, given its eerie, ominous tenor and bouts of murderous screaming – one might wait at least until the second Tinder date – but I loved it. That was probably the only good thing he did in the relationship, and I commend him for it.

Another beau had the genius idea to screw while the entirety of Loveless by My Bloody Valentine played in the background. A song is great, sure, but if you can find an entire record to listen to instead, you’re golden. An LP ensures adequate length and a consistent atmosphere. Loveless is perfect because it is gritty and romantic all at once, and you can’t understand a damn word anyone is singing, which is even better (you’ll find out why later).

Another record I have a fond, sensual affection for is Television’s Marquee Moon, especially the title track itself. I can’t point out any specific factors as to why other than the back catalogue of my personal spank bank, but that’s good enough for me. All of these songs, paired with their role in my sex life have so swayed me behaviorally, that when I hear them I get turned on. Which is kind of kickass.

Though despite these triumphs, partners have not always been victorious in the erotic disc jockey department. The same man who was wise enough to put on “Girl” later selected a track to lesser applause. It was 1991’s “Bitch Betta Have My Money” by rapper AMG. A song bursting with such poetic lyrics as “there ain’t nothin’ like black pussy on my dick” and “you can suck the dickity-dick but I’m gonna charge you a nut.” I bear no issue with this cut musically, but no one ever got a woman into bed by telling her to “suck the dickity-dick.” Sorry, AMG. You can kiss my assity-ass.

Another snafu occurred when the most loathsome person I ever dated put his iTunes on shuffle pre-coitus. There we were, rolling about on his poly-blend sheets, when Tegan and Sara’s “Back In Your Head” boomed out of his speakers. I jerked away from him, so very confused by his Tegan and Sara fandom, and thoroughly enjoying how mortified he was. He scrambled to his desktop and switched his “uncool guy” music to his “cool guy” music, which was “Uncontrollable Urge” by Devo.

I learned many things that day, namely that denying your love of Tegan and Sara does not make you manlier. But I also learned that no moment hinges more upon mood than the moment before sex. One should be ever so careful to ensure the music is not on shuffle.

And what about sex for a vinyl lover, such as myself? If you think putting a condom on is “awkward,” try committing coitus interruptus when the first half of Daydream Nation finishes up, or worse, skips. Out of bed, to the turntable to flip sides or frantically dig through records in search of something else. Who knew high fidelity audio could be such a cock block?

Despite certain studies on the matter of sex music, some of which claim that classical tunes are the best thing to get freaky to, what I’ve learned is that one can’t rationally explain why some songs work and others don’t. It’s like the mystery of attraction and fetishes; there isn’t always a 1+2=3 answer. “Love songs” are rarely what get me in the mood. Songs about sex are often laughable and cringe worthy when you’re about to actually have sex. And I’m sure some people would be horrified if I scored their sexcapades with what I prefer. Nick Cave anyone? The Cramps? Or what about “Cold Discovery” by Smog (the Peel Session please!)? Not for everyone I’m sure.

I was finally able to get an answer from Fletcher about what he used to put on for “a romp sesh” in high school:

“’A Punch Up At a Wedding by Radiohead’ was my favorite,” he admitted.

I give it a listen for the first time in years and realize that this song will never be the same for me again. I cannot unlearn what I have been told. Just as my own intimate history augments the songs I love, so now has his. Images form, and I don’t necessarily want them to.

I guess that you can have sex without music. But I am now near convinced you cannot have music without sex.

*Name changed for privacy.